Thor / screen print / regular / Martin Ansin / USA

16.11.16

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Thor
AKA
--
Year of Film
N/A
Director
Kenneth Branagh
Starring
Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgård, Kat Dennings, Clark Gregg, Colm Feore, Idris Elba, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano, Josh Dallas, Jaimie Alexander
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Adventure | Fantasy | Sci-Fi
Type of Poster
Screen print
Style of Poster
Regular
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2012
Designer
Martin Ansin
Artist
Martin Ansin
Size (inches)
24" x 36"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This screen print depicting the Marvel character Thor, as played by Chris Hemsworth, was created by the talented Uruguayan designer and artist Martin Ansin. It was commissioned by the limited edition poster outfit Mondo as part of a series of prints that were released in preparation for the highly anticipated Marvel superhero team-up, The Avengers (2012). A print was released for each of the seven main heroes featured in the first film. This included one for Captain America by the design outfit Phantom City Creative and one for The Hulk by Ken Taylor. This page on Collider.com shows five of the posters and the other two can be seen here. To finish of the series Mondo asked Tyler Stout to design a poster for the actual Avengers film itself. See here for my interview with Tyler about his work on the print.

Not all of the characters that made the line-up for the first film were given a solo outing before The Avengers was released. The first Iron Man film that was released in 2008 set the template that others followed and made a tidy profit at the box office in doing so. A sequel followed two years later and then Thor’s solo outing was released in 2011 along with the first Captain America film. This then completed what is called Phase One in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Phase Two began with Iron Man 3 in 2013.

Ansin’s work has graced many of the best posters released by Mondo, including several in the Universal Monsters series, like this amazing Phantom of the Opera one. This Thor poster was printed in a regular and variant version with the variant having a grey/silver colourway and glow-in-the-dark inks.

The other posters I’ve collected by Ansin can be seen here. His official website is well worth a browse.

Timerider / one sheet / USA

14.11.16

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Timerider
AKA
Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann (alternative full title)
Year of Film
1982
Director
William Dear
Starring
Fred Ward, Belinda Bauer, Peter Coyote, Richard Masur, Tracey Walter, Ed Lauter, L.Q. Jones, Chris Mulkey, Macon McCalman, Miguel Sandoval
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi | Western
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
27 3/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
820171
Tagline
Lyle Swann is a champion off-road racer. But to the people of 1877, he's something very, very different...

Timerider is a largely forgotten genre mash-up from the early 1980s starring Fred Ward (probably best known for Tremors). Directed, co-written and scored by William Dear, the film deals with the concept of time-travel and sees a cross country dirtbike champion accidentally sent back in time to 1877. Whilst competing in a race, Lyle Swann (Ward) rides through an area which is being used by scientists to try to send a monkey back in time. He’s unaware that he’s gone back in time over a century and doesn’t understand why the people he meets are terrified of him and his bike. Eventually he realises the situation but not before he’s being pursued by a gang of outlaws. He’s taken in by a woman called Claire (Belinda Bauer) who hides his bike before seducing him. Meanwhile, the scientists in the future are desperately trying to retrieve Swann from 1877.

The films ends with quite a creepy payoff which I won’t spoil but made me exclaim ‘Eh?!’ at the screen. Think: what happens in the first Terminator but even weirder. The film is largely forgettable and features some truly terrible performances with mumbled dialogue making it hard to follow in parts. Fred Ward is good value, as always, and the head outlaw, played by Peter Coyote, is a decent enough villain.

I’m unsure who is responsible for the design or artwork on this US one sheet so if anyone has any ideas please get in touch.

Superman II / Thailand

07.11.16

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Superman II
AKA
--
Year of Film
1980
Director
Richard Lester | Richard Donner
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
Type of Poster
Thai
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Thailand
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Tongdee Panumas
Size (inches)
21 7/16" x 31"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the original Thai poster for the release of Superman II, the sequel to 1978’s Superman the Movie. The artwork is partially based on the international one sheet painted by the American artist Dan Goozee (see here). Goozee’s artwork also appeared on the Japanese B2 poster. My belief is that the Thai artist, Tongdee Panumas, repainted the original artwork and then added new items to the montage.

Superman II is infamous for its troubled production which saw original director Richard Donner replaced part way through filming. The producers of the first film had decided to shoot the sequel at the same time. Donner had filmed multiple scenes, including those featuring Marlon Brando, but at a certain point a decision was made to pause filming the sequel to get the first film out of the door. Once Superman the Movie was released into cinemas, the production team returned to finish off the sequel. In the interim period, the producers had been sued by Brando for a slice of the first film’s profits so his filmed scenes were excised from the sequel.

Richard Lester, who was originally brought on as an uncredited line producer on the first film, was chosen to replace Donner. The latter had fallen out with the producer Pierre Spengler whilst filming the first movie and soon discovered that he wasn’t to be invited back to complete the sequel. Lester ended up refilming many of the scenes that Donner had completed but quite a lot of the latter’s work survived in the final cut, including scenes with Gene Hackman who was unable to return for the reshoots. Composer John Williams also had a scheduling conflict but he recommended Ken Thorne, a friend and fellow composer, to the production team.

The fairly simple storyline sees the villains teased at the start of the first film, Kryptonians General Zod (a memorable performance by Terence Stamp) and his two accomplices, escape from the Phantom Zone and descend to earth. There they cause havoc and eventually break into the White House, holding the president hostage. Meanwhile, Clark Kent and Lois Lane are on holiday cementing their romantic relationship. Lois has become convinced that her boyfriend is in fact Superman in disguise. Lex Luthor has also managed to escape from prison and agrees a tentative deal with the Zod that he will help them find Superman in exchange for him being given Australia to rule. The stage is set for a showdown between the four Kryptonians at the Fortress of Solitude.

Despite the behind the scenes woes, the film is actually a very strong sequel and was critically acclaimed on release. The box-office receipts were also very healthy and led to an inevitable sequel 3 years later (it was even teased at the start of the credits for part II).

Tongdee’s artwork features several key scenes from the film and I particularly love the floating Superman head in the bottom right. Note that there’s a Trebor advert on the left side and this is common for Thai posters of the era. I believe that companies paid to have their brand associated with a film’s release (as is common practice today) and these logos would often make it onto the poster. Pepsi is one brand logo that often appears on Thai posters.

Tongdee was an incredibly prolific film poster artist during the 70s, 80s and 90s. I’ve been unable to find out much about him, other than that he was born in 1947, so if anyone has any more details please get in touch.

Gothic / quad / UK

03.11.16

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Gothic
AKA
--
Year of Film
1986
Director
Ken Russell
Starring
Gabriel Byrne, Julian Sands, Natasha Richardson, Myriam Cyr, Timothy Spall, Alec Mango, Andreas Wisniewski, Dexter Fletcher, Pascal King
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Horror
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Paul Dufficey
Size (inches)
30 2/16" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
"Conjure up your deepest darkest fear. Then call that fear to life."

This British quad for Ken Russell‘s 1986 horror film Gothic features artwork by Paul Dufficey. From what I can gather the artist was a long-time collaborator with the late director and had worked on four of his previous films, including Tommy. It appears from his IMDb profile that he worked as a production and set designer and for Gothic he created ‘portraits’, which presumably included the work on this posters.

Russell’s film was written by Stephen Volk and is a fictionalised retelling of the visit by Percy Shelley (Julian Sands) and his later wife Mary (Natasha Richardson in her first film role) to the Swiss villa of Lord Byron (Gabriel Byrne). There they also meet Byron’s friend, the physician Dr. John Polidori (Timothy Spall) One evening, whilst a storm rages outside, the group tell each other horror stories and reveal intimate secrets about themselves. This meeting was apparently the inspiration for Mary Shelley to write Frankenstein and for Polidori to pen The Vampyre, both of which were groundbreaking novels in the horror genre.

The images on this poster are clearly inspired by classic gothic artwork, particularly the woman splayed across a bed. This references a painting called The Nightmare by the Anglo-Swiss artist Henry Fuseli which was painted in 1781. It depicts a creepy imp sitting on top of a sleeping woman and this same imagery features in Gothic. The imp is played by Kiran Shah, a dwarf actor and stuntman who has featured in several blockbusters such as Raiders of the Lost Ark and was a stuntman on all three of the Hobbit films.

Apparently the film was not much of a success at the box office but was popular on home video. I’m certain it has something to do with the distributor using a creepy photo of Shah on top of a woman, which must have enticed a fair few punters to rent the film. I doubt it met the expectations of all out horror that the cover suggested for many though!

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: the Dream Child / B2 / art style / Japan

26.10.16

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child
AKA
Il Mito [The Myth] (Italy)
Year of Film
1989
Director
Stephen Hopkins
Starring
Robert Englund, Lisa Wilcox, Kelly Jo Minter, Erika Anderson, Nicholas Mele, Joe Seely, Valorie Armstrong, Danny Hassel, Burr DeBenning, Clarence Felder
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Horror
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Art style
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1989
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 12/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Unique artwork features on this Japanese B2 for the release of the fifth entry in the much-loved horror franchise, A Nightmare on Elm Street 5. The film’s subtitle ‘the Dream Child’ hints at the plot for the film, which sees Freddy attempting to return from hell by using the mind of an unborn baby. The child belongs to Alice (Lisa Wilcox) who was the main character in the previous film and the father is her boyfriend Dan (Danny Hassel) who also returns from Part 4. The Dream Child was only the second film directed by Stephen Hopkins, the Jamaican-born English-Australian director best known for helming Predator 2 and the 1998 reboot of Lost in Space.

Set a year after the previous film, the story sees Alice and her friends graduating from high school with Freddy Krueger seemingly vanquished for good. Alice begins to have strange dreams in which she finds herself in the asylum where Freddy’s mother, a nun named Amanda, was attacked and raped by the inmates. Later she has another dream in which she witnesses Amanda giving birth to a strange, deformed baby. The creature scuttles off and ends up in the church where Alice vanquished Freddy in Part 4 whereupon it grows into an adult Krueger. He immediately begins to taunt Alice, claiming he has found a way to return for good. When she wakes from the dream she immediately summons Dan to her but he falls asleep at the wheel of his motorbike and Freddy attacks and, during a gruesome sequence, melds him together with the bike before crashing him into a truck. Soon afterwards she learns that she is pregnant with Dan’s child and immediately begins to fear for its safety.

Alice and her friends must once again battle together with the spirit of Amanda Krueger to stop Freddy before he is able to return and take over the mind of Alice’s unborn son (Jacob). To be honest, the film gets very confusing and it’s hard to follow what’s happening most of the time, never mind how an unborn baby suddenly becomes a ten-year-old child in some of the sequences. The usual dream deaths are pretty dark and there are some gruesome moments for horror hounds, but the story barely hangs together, with choppy editing and hammy acting not helping at all. Although not a box-office disaster, the film failed to take anywhere near the box-office of Part 3 and 4 and audiences were certainly cooling towards the franchise by this point.

This artwork is a modified take on the photographic image of Freddy with the pram seen on the German A1 poster. I’m not sure who was responsible for the painting so if anyone has any ideas please get in touch. The small illustrated figure in the bottom right is actually from the alternate style Japanese B2 poster which I also have in the collection here.

Ex Machina / screen print / Jock / USA

24.10.16

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Ex Machina
AKA
--
Year of Film
2015
Director
Alex Garland
Starring
Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander, Sonoya Mizuno, Corey Johnson, Claire Selby
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi | Thriller
Type of Poster
Screen print
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2015
Designer
Jock
Artist
Jock
Size (inches)
24" x 36"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Ex Machina, the directorial debut of Alex Garland, was one of my favourite films of 2015. An independent, British-made sci-fi, the film focuses on the technology of artificial intelligence (AI) and what it means to be human. Domhnall Gleeson plays Caleb, a programmer working for the world’s foremost technology company (the fictional Blue Book). Caleb wins a competition to visit the remote home of the enigmatic CEO of the company, Nathan (Oscar Isaac). Once there he discovers that he is to take part in a top secret test of an artificial intelligence that Nathan has been developing.

Caleb is told that he must subject the AI, named Ava (Alicia Vikander), to the Turing test and see if he can distinguish her from another human by asking her a series of questions. It soon becomes clear that Ava is a remarkable achievement and Caleb becomes very excited by the implications of the technology. Caleb discovers that her creation has come at a price and Ava has engineered a plan to escape from her cell with his help. Unbeknownst to the pair, Nathan is fully aware of the duplicity and the trio are set for a deadly encounter.

This screen print was released in 2015 by the incomparable Mondo, the Austin-based purveyors of limited edition posters and film merchandise. The design and art is the work of Jock, a British illustrator who works on comics, screen prints and is also a concept artist for films. He had collaborated with Alex Garland on Dredd (2012) before being asked to create artwork for Ex Machina. He has also worked on promotional images for films including Iron Man 3 and The Dark Knight Trilogy. Jock has created some fantastic posters over the past few years and they can be viewed on his official website, which also features images of his film concept art and comics work.

A compendium of his work called The Art of Jock has just been released and I highly recommend picking up a copy. See details here.